TBTAM has a really well-written piece today about an interview with Paul Levy (and a nice part with some good introspection that most doctors would identify with about why they got into medicine), but she’s very troubled with his response to typical physician negotiating tactics. Read her post for the particulars, then come back here and read after the break.
I have to say that I was listening to the show live, and while I heard the same words, I heard the subtext differently (I’m not speaking for Mr. Levy here, he can do that very well). I heard his responding to the typically horrible way doctors negotiate: it’s all or nothing, him or me, take it or leave it. Frankly, an approach that would make a second grader blush.
The specific example he gave was a physician who says essentially ‘do it my way or I quit’, to which Mr. Levy’s response was that he’d then say ‘Great, when are you leaving, we could use the office space’. I don’t think that’s the position he wants to take with any doc, I think he was trying to demonstrate horrible negotiating tactics and their only true counterpoint, to negotiate in the same style. Mr. Levy no more wants docs to quit than most actually mean they’ll quit, but since most docs learned their negotiating skills from Lord of the Flies, when confronted with horrible tactics he’s left without much else.
As I had heard the conversation that way, I came away very impressed with him, his insight into doctors and their want/need continuum, and their deficits in basic negotiating skills (which has to be very foreign to someone who’s business trained, as negotiation is a big part of their world, at least among equals).
Count me a Paul Levy fan. And a TBTAM fan, for that matter.